Simpson: CHIPS for America Legislation Critical to National Security & Our Economic Future

Posted on July 16, 2022

Chips Op Ed Website Graphic 7.17.22 (1200x630)

By: Robert Simpson, President of CenterState CEO

This week, an urgent issue comes before Congress that could bring our community – and country - to a greater level of economic competitiveness and prosperity than we have seen in generations. Realization of this opportunity, however, requires urgent action on this critical legislation.

Syracuse - like Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, Rome and Albany - was once a crown jewel of American innovation and manufacturing. Products developed and manufactured here were shipped all over the world, accelerating global economic prosperity.

Then, as a result of globalization and decades of failed economic policy, we watched as the jobs that jump-started the global economy were then shipped to distant shores.

Now, after decades of intentional investment, places like Syracuse are thriving and on the verge of recapturing their rightful place as globally relevant research and manufacturing centers.

Just last month, ground-breaking Green CHIPS legislation passed thanks to the visionary leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul, and legislative efforts by Senator Jeremy Cooney and Assemblyman Al Stirpe, positioning New York to be perhaps the most likely to benefit from an expected wave of semiconductor reshoring in the country.

Investments in this industry have transformed the Capital Region and are now transforming the Mohawk Valley. Green CHIPS increases the chances that these high-tech investments will push westward, creating a modern-day silicon Erie Canal along the Thruway corridor. Thanks to the efforts of County Executive Ryan McMahon to assemble the White Pine Mega-Campus along this digital corridor, I have no doubt that we will be one such beneficiary, creating an unprecedented opportunity for jobs and increased economic prosperity within our communities, while strengthening our competitiveness globally.

Some of the opportunities before us hinge on an obvious and urgent need that elected officials from both sides of the political spectrum actually agree on: reshoring our semiconductor supply chain is a national security imperative. Our intelligence agencies, and those of allied nations, are warning of the clear and present danger that exists from allowing manufacturing to continue in places where security cannot be guaranteed.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, however, the U.S. share of semiconductor manufacturing has atrophied more than three times over since 1990, now representing a mere 12% of total global production. Yet the technology we use every day - the cars and trucks we use to drive our families in, TV and major appliances in our homes, and smart devices, like the watches on our wrists and phones in our pockets, relies on these advanced electronics. Furthermore, our most sensitive military infrastructure and equipment contains these vital chips.  Our country can no longer afford to cede their production to foreign nations, some whose governments have potentially hostile intent toward the United States of America.

Thanks to the dogged and determined leadership of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Congress will finally have a chance next week to tell Americans where they stand on this important issue. On Tuesday, the Senate will vote on the CHIPS for America Act and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), with support from original cosponsor Representative John Katko, two tools to advance the U.S. in the semiconductor industry that have broad bipartisan support and that are designed to reshore American production of these critical devices by leveling the playing field between the U.S. and foreign countries that can do so at 30-40% less cost.

American reshoring means American jobs, not just for places like Syracuse and our Thruway sister cities, but in the rest of America’s heartland as well. Places like Ohio, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Indiana, Kansas and West Virginia stand to benefit from this wave of investment.

In this critical moment, we call on every Chamber of Commerce, economic development organization and business association in this state and across the country, as well as the public, to demand that Congress vote to approve CHIPS/ITC. If you care about U.S. jobs, our national security and the privacy of your electronic devices, now is the time to act. By demanding action, we can keep hostile actors out of our phones and therefore out of our pockets; unleash a wave of high-tech manufacturing investment across this great nation and put good paychecks back into the hands of American workers where they belong.

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